Frequently Asked Questions About Planning Educational Sessions

When is my proposal due?
All proposals for Scientific Sessions, Roundtables, and AACC University must be submitted by November 8, 2019.

Are conflict of interest disclosures for moderators and speakers required with my submission?
Yes, conflict of interest disclosure forms for both moderators and speakers must be submitted with your proposal. Otherwise, your proposal cannot be reviewed.

What is the honoraria for speakers?

  • Scientific Session and AACC University Speakers will receive $370 per day for no more than 2 days. Per diem covers hotel, meals, and ground transportation while attending the meeting. Participation in multiple sessions held on the same day will not result in two per diem payments for any one day.
  • Per diem checks will be distributed onsite in Chicago in the Speaker Ready Room. More details will be available in 2020.
  • Roundtable speakers will receive $50 onsite before delivering the presentation.
  • Moderators, Roundtable speakers, and Disruptive Technology participants do not receive travel reimbursement or per diem compensation.
  • All speakers are responsible for making their own hotel arrangements.
  • Air travel must be arranged through AACC’s official travel agency. Travel agency information will be provided in 2020. Speakers who wish to drive to the meeting will be reimbursed at the prevailing government rate of reimbursement as long as the cost does not exceed the cost of a round-trip airfare available 21 days prior to the meeting from their home to Chicago. More details will be available in 2020.

How do I focus the topic of my session?
To focus your session, ask these questions:

  • What healthcare/laboratory medicine opportunities, problems, issues, or changes will be discussed in this session?
  • How do these issues impact professionals working in laboratory medicine?
  • How will the session enable learners to address and overcome these issues or professional practice gaps?

How do I write an acceptable learning objective?
Simply have the result in mind. Decide what participants must be able to do after the session that they could not do before. What are the solutions to the identified problems? How can participants implement these solutions when they get back to the workplace?

For example, suppose your audience says they don’t understand why labs turn out erroneous results. From talking with them beforehand, you’ve learned that they are unfamiliar with factors that cause variation in lab results before the sample even gets to the laboratory. As a result, you decide to teach about factors that cause preanalytic variation. Your material should cover factors such as diurnal variation, physiological stress due to posture, sample collection, and storage, or other causes.

How will participants be able to apply what they learn in this session? What level of thinking must they operate at when they get back to their jobs? What will they be able to do after the presentation that they could not do before? This becomes your learning objective.

Some examples:

  • After a presentation on preanalytic variation, clinical laboratorians will be able to set up procedures to control post-collection factors that adversely affect the stability of analytes.
  • After a presentation on how collection methods can lead to erroneous results, the students can select collection methods that will minimize the possibility of introducing bias in laboratory results.

Learning objectives must contain:

  • verbs showing what students can do
  • verbs indicating the level of thought required to perform that action

Examples:

Level

Action

Recognition

List, state, identify

Understanding

Describe, diagram components, etc.

Explanation

Explain, define, interpret, discuss

Analysis

Compare, contrast, differentiate, analyze

Synthesis

Choose, evaluate

Unacceptable learning objectives contain:

  • verbs that can’t be measured or demonstrated such as understand, know, learn, see, review
  • statements that demonstrate what the instructor rather than the students will do
  • any objectives that are measurable but that your presentation doesn’t support

Inter-activity is big in adult education but I'm not comfortable facilitating group discussions. Is a lecture format so bad?
A lecture format is acceptable and appropriate for disseminating a large amount of information, but not for retaining it. If you want students to learn, remember, and apply what was covered, you need to give them opportunities to practice using the information. Research shows the only difference between those who change their behavior due to new learning and those who don't is confidence in performing the new behavior. Confidence comes from practice.

How do I select appropriate interactive educational methods?
You can select appropriate interactive educational methods by looking for congruence between learning objectives and presentation format. The means should facilitate the outcome.

The following are a few examples of this principle:

  • If your objective is to have attendees learn how to construct a laboratory budget, then provide time to draft a budget using pre-designed criteria.
  • If your objective is to have attendees list factors responsible for preanalytic variation in test results, have them write such a list as a mid- or end-point summary of your presentation.
  • If your objective is to have attendees analyze and interpret cardiac markers, present them with lab results in a case study format.
  • If your objective is to have attendees diagram the components of a lipid molecule, provide a blank illustration and have them label the components as you discuss the labeled slide that illustrates these concepts.

Realize each learner prefers a different style. Remember to incorporate techniques for those who learn by seeing (visual learners), by hearing (auditory learners), and by doing (kinesthetic learners).

We also encourage you to incorporate techniques that let attendees review material, thereby increasing their retention level. For example:

  • Provide handouts that contain a summary of the presentation content.
  • Again, use a midpoint summary.
  • Halfway through the presentation, use Sync, the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting audience response system, to spark discussion.

All of these techniques allow you to present a great deal of material and at the same time provide time to practice for the students.

Which overall learning format should I consider when planning my session?
Please consider formats that will optimize the educational experience and learning. All proposals must describe the format for the session and should indicate if the session will use any interactive tools (such as audience response or group formats). Be creative. Possible options include:

Learning Format

Description

Considerations

Lecture

An expert speaker conveys information to a large group.

A well-designed lecture can be effective, but if used too often or for too long, participants will lose interest. Most effective lectures incorporate audience interaction via a response system such as Sync.

Panel Discussion

A small group of experts, led by a moderator, discusses an issue from a variety of perspectives.

Lends itself to better conversations than a lecture because it provides more varied opinions. Again, should not be used too often or for too long and audience interaction (via Sync) should be encouraged.

Debate

Two or three debaters holding clearly differing points of view exchange insights on a topic of import to the audience.

Abstracts should be made available to participants and should: identify the topic, why the topic is of interest, and the contrasting positions of the debaters.

Workshop or Breakout Session

Led by a moderator, it usually allows for more interaction.

Engaging activities should be included.

Case Studies

Reports of real-life events and problems.

Discussions should be primarily audience-driven.

Roundtable

A structured system to provide peer engagement around specific topics. Each table has an established topic and facilitator. The facilitator frames the discussion and encourages participation from each person at the table.

Important to select a skilled facilitator.

Lightning Talks

A very short presentation, usually between five and ten minutes in length. The short format forces the speaker to only include critical information. Several lightning talks will usually be delivered by different speakers in a single session.

Slides may be required or not permitted depending on the organization of the session. For sessions requiring slides, a fixed number may be set. Timekeeping is important for this type of session.

Adapted from The Association Educator’s Toolkit. Washington, DC: American Society of Association Executives; 1995.

Additional Sources:

CES SCÉ. Types of Presentations. http://c2016.evaluationcanada.ca/types-of-presentations/index.html

How do I ensure the participants achieve the learning objectives?
Learners who are advised of learning outcomes and told they will be required to demonstrate each outcome tend to become more actively involved in the learning process. Feedback provided during these active demonstrations is a primary source for building learner confidence, a critical factor in transferring learning beyond the training room.